Earth Day Cleanups 2015

The Regional Environmental Council will once again be coordinating Earth Day Cleanups on Saturday, April 18, from 8:00am-noon.

If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the Volunteer Application.

If you are interested in becoming a site coordinator, please call Hanh at the REC at 508-799-9139 or email  office@recworcester.org

As longtime readers know, this will be my eighth (!!!) year coordinating the God’s Acre/Swan Avenue site for Earth Day cleanups.  (It will also be our third year holding cleanups on Sherer Trail.)

I haven’t posted pictures of our cleanups for a few years, because it’s not as impressive (trash-wise) as once it was.

It was always our goal to have the cleanups get to a point where just a few folks can maintain the site a few times a year, and that’s where we’re at right now. Through the help of the REC, GWLT, dozens of volunteers, and Superior Waste & Recycling, we have turned this area from one of the more notorious dumping grounds in the city to a mostly clean area that hikers can enjoy.

Thanks to everyone who got us to this point!

Consider Becoming a Site Coordinator

I’d also like to encourage folks to consider becoming a site coordinator.

Four years ago, I wrote a short guide to beginning cleanups in your neighborhood, and I’ve listed some additional tips here and here.  If this sounds like something you’d like to do, call or email the REC.  If you have questions about how the process works, comment on this post or send me an email.

As always, I appreciate the work of the REC, the city, and others in organizing these cleanups, and the enormous effort volunteers put into cleaning up sites all around the city.

Who’s Watchin’ Woo’s Wild West?

On a recent walk-through of God’s Acre & Swan Avenue in preparation for the upcoming Earth Day Cleanups, we discovered that God’s Acre has a new resident:

Bubba Waits

Meet Bubba J; we’re not sure if he’s been placed here as a guardian angel, or a new mascot for the area, but the choice is so many shades of apt that I scarcely know where to begin.

Worcester’s Wild West, if you’ve never been, is an area west of Mill Street, south of Tatnuck Sq. and north of Main Street.  It’s a hilly region that’s home to many of Worcester’s bumpy, unpaved “private streets”.  The few paved byways are a slalum course of potholes occasionally filled by an ad hoc self-appointed neighborhood posse.  If there were a few more pickup trucks on the lawns, you might be forgiven for thinking you’d woken up in Appalachia.

So now we have Bubba J.  Littering in the God’s Acre area has been light this winter, so perhaps we have Bubba to thank for keeping out the trash.

Bubba Watches

My children were along for the Earth Day assessment hike, and saw Bubba.  They were afraid of him.  But I take great comfort in this little fellow minding the hills & hollers of Woo’s Wild West.  He might even protect us from the evils of fluoride, homeless shelters, smart meters or indoor plumbing . . . and anything else that might make the villagers in Woo’s Wild West ornery.

BubbaSees

Earth Day Cleanups 2014

The Regional Environmental Council will once again be coordinating Earth Day Cleanups on Saturday, April 12, from 8:00am-noon.

If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the Volunteer Application.

If you are interested in becoming a site coordinator, please call Koby or Benito at the REC at 508-799-9139 or email  earthday@recworcester.org

As longtime readers know, this will be my seventh year coordinating the God’s Acre/Swan Avenue site for Earth Day cleanups.

I didn’t post a lot about last year’s cleanup because it was incredibly mellow.  It was always our goal to have the cleanups get to a point where just a few folks can maintain the site a few times a year, and that’s where we’re at right now.  Thanks to everyone who got us to this point!

Consider Becoming a Site Coordinator

I’d also like to encourage folks to consider becoming a site coordinator.

Four years ago, I wrote a short guide to beginning cleanups in your neighborhood, and I’ve listed some additional tips here and here.  If this sounds like something you’d like to do, call or email the REC.  If you have questions about how the process works, comment on this post or send me an email.

As always, I appreciate the work of the REC, the city, and others in organizing these cleanups, and the enormous effort volunteers put into cleaning up sites all around the city.

Hermitage Country Club

Just in time for Earth Day…

Colin directed me to a few articles of interest to you God’s Acre fans.  (And I know you’re out there, people!)

Did you know that there was a Hermitage Country Club founded in the early 1900s that catered to motorists?  Yeah, me neither.

But if you want to see what the Abel Swan Brown Hermitage looked like (as opposed to the Andrew Clark Hermitage), check out the bottom of this page.

This article indicates that Solomon Parsons had visited Jerusalem in 1850, which I’d never heard before.

Earth Day Cleanups 2013

The Regional Environmental Council will once again be coordinating Earth Day Cleanups on Saturday, April 27, from 8:00am-noon.

If you are interested in becoming a site coordinator, or if you’d like to volunteer, please fill out the Site Coordinator and Volunteer Application.

As longtime readers know, this will be my sixth year coordinating the God’s Acre/Swan Avenue site for Earth Day cleanups.  (You can see the kind of work we did at last year’s Earth Day Cleanup here — I expect this year will have even less volume, and we don’t need any additional volunteers beyond the usual folks.  I’ll probably spend a couple of hours here and then finish up at another site.)

Consider Becoming a Site Coordinator

I’d also like to encourage folks to consider becoming a site coordinator.  Take a look at the location map from last year; if there’s a location you feel needs cleaning up and you don’t see it listed, there’s a good chance that we need you to take that on this year.

Three years ago, I wrote a short guide to beginning cleanups in your neighborhood, and I’ve listed some additional tips here and here.  If this sounds like something you’d like to do, call or email the REC.  If you have questions about how the process works, comment on this post or send me an email.

As always, I appreciate the work of the REC, the city, and others in organizing these cleanups, and the enormous effort volunteers put into cleaning up sites all around the city.

“Hanging Tree”

I’ve linked before to Daniel Boudillon’s extensive history of God’s Acre in Worcester, which is pretty solid but contains a significant amount of “woo-woo.”

I’d like to clear up one of the biggest misstatements on his website:

we did however find the Hanging Tree.  Local legend knows Deed Rock as “Will Rock.”  In fact, all the correspondents who have written me about the rock have called it Will Rock.  It is only in researching the subject at the Worcester Historical Museum that I learned that its historical name is Deed Rock.  Local legend has it that the “will” carved thereon is from a man who hung himself from a tree at a fork in the road where the old lane enters the Hermitage, thus “cursing” this area.  There actually is a short chain hanging from a fork high in that tree, mute testimony to superstition. 

Our next-door neighbor grew up in the caretaker’s cottage at the Hermitage, and that “spooky” chain in the “hanging” tree is his — he used it to hoist engines out of cars he was working on.

Which I believe shows that most spooky stories told by neighborhood kids have their origins in car repair.

A few links about Parsons Cider Mill/God’s Acre/Hermitage/Deed Rock, of interest:

A post on the Hermitage

A short post on the Cider Mill

A Facebook page on the Cider Mill

Earth Day 2012

Thanks so much to the folks who came out on Friday and Saturday for the Earth Day cleanup at God’s Acre/Swan Avenue/Logan Field.

If you remember pictures from previous years (2010, 2011), this year was much less involved:

Volunteers cleaning Swan Avenue/God's Acre

Although this roll-off doesn’t look full now, by the end of the day it was:

50 cubic yard roll-off supplied by Superior Waste

One of the more interesting aspects of Saturday morning was taking down someone’s former residence/camp in the hills above Logan Field.  It was a beautiful view, but a real pain in the rear to remove:

Squatter site on Tetasset Trail near Logan Field

Most years, we are out until 3 or 4 pm; this year, we’d finished up by 12:30!

Special thanks to:

  • Dennis O’Connor of Superior Waste and Recycling, who always provides us with staff and equipment to make our work much easier
  • the REC for making it possible for us to do this cleanup for the fifth year in a row
  • Jim Kempton of DPW&P for picking up some extra bags left over from the weekend
  • Bob Q and Paul D for working so hard

We are finally at the point of complete maintenance for Swan Avenue and God’s Acre.  There’s not a lot of old dumping left, and we can likely maintain this site with the help of a few volunteers a few times a year.

So many people have helped us for the past five years, and they’ve accomplished far more than I ever thought we would.

I’m really excited that we’ve reached this stage, and I’m looking forward to helping improve some other dumped-upon sites in the years to come.